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07/05/2020 11:00
Portugal’s rising star Vanessa Paquete confident in the return of Beach Volleyball
News from the National Federations

Porto, Portugal, May 7, 2020. Vanessa Paquete is one of the safe bets of the Portuguese Volleyball Federation for Beach Volleyball. After teaming up with Beatriz Pinheiro, with whom she became senior national vice-champion in 2019, the athlete who now dedicates herself exclusively to the outdoor variant of Volleyball is hopeful she can help Portugal win what may be the biggest challenge ever.

Emphasising that “the Portuguese National Federation Beach Volleyball Training Centre in Cortegaça is the best thing that has happened to Beach Volleyball in Portugal,” Vanessa defends the measures taken in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, although she confesses some disappointment for not being able – as things stand – to compete in international competitions this season.

How are you experiencing, as a citizen and athlete, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

This new time that we are living in makes me feel a little anxious. All of this is a big change, with many uncertainties into the mix. Beatriz [Pinheiro] and I always have always kept in touch. Our coach [national coach Ricardo Rocha*] keeps telling us the type of training we should do at home and we also try to know if everything is ok with each other.

With the lifting of the state of emergency, do you believe that the conditions will be there for Portugal to take the first steps towards normality?
In my opinion, our country has taken the right decisions to fight / slow down the spread of the virus. The cancellation of large events that always gather crowds, the closure of bars, clubs and restaurants, all of this was crucial so that our numbers today do not compare to those of other neighbouring countries. Now that the state of emergency is going to end, I think that in order to remain stable, things will not depend only on the country, but also on all Portuguese people to continue to take security measures and to follow social distancing whenever possible. The limited number of people in each space will also be crucial.

Vanessa Paquete portrayed in action together with her teammate Beatriz Pinheiro

As a Beach Volleyball athlete, how do you see the possibility of resuming, in the short term, training and, more in the medium term, competition?
In terms of training, we started again on May 4 in Cortegaça; regarding the competition, I am a little afraid that my season will be only competing in Portugal [National Championship]. I think it will be very difficult to have competitions outside the country. All of this is very uncertain for us; it will depend on the virus and its evolution in each country and on the measures taken to fight against it.

The Portuguese National Federation created a Beach Volleyball Centre in Cortegaça. How do you assess the impact of this investment on your work and on Portuguese Beach Volleyball?

The hall in Cortegaça is the best thing that has happened to Beach Volleyball in Portugal. It offers great working conditions, comfort and stability to athletes. It gives the possibility to carry out trainings and tournaments with athletes from other countries in the winter, which is the time with less competition, and also attracts and captivates the younger players to try Beach Volleyball. It is fundamental for the future, as many doors open with this Beach Volleyball Centre.

What message would you like to send to athletes / people in this new stage of fighting the pandemic?

I would like to leave a message of hope. I believe that, at this moment, many athletes are feeling a little anxious and confused about what may happen in the future, as it is normal for us all to think about it, but we should not distress ourselves with these negative thoughts that do not bring us any benefit. It is a phase and soon we will all be doing what we like the most. To them and to everyone, I would like to point out that this will end and we will all be grateful for doing our part.

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